Comparison between fine-needle biopsy and fine-needle aspiration for EUS-guided sampling of subepithelial lesions: a meta-analysis

Gastrointest Endosc. 2020 Jan;91(1):14-22.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2019.07.018. Epub 2019 Jul 30.


Background and aims: There is limited evidence on the diagnostic performance of EUS-guided fine-needle biopsy (FNB) sampling in patients with subepithelial lesions. The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare EUS-guided FNB sampling performance with FNA in patients with GI subepithelial lesions.

Methods: A computerized bibliographic search on the main databases was performed through May 2019. The primary endpoint was sample adequacy. Secondary outcomes were diagnostic accuracy, histologic core procurement rate, and mean number of needle passes. Summary estimates were expressed in terms of odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results: Ten studies (including 6 randomized trials) with 669 patients were included. Pooled rates of adequate samples for FNB sampling were 94.9% (range, 92.3%-97.5%) and for FNA 80.6% (range, 71.4%-89.7%; OR, 2.54; 95% CI, 1.29-5.01; P = .007). When rapid on-site evaluation was available, no significant difference between the 2 techniques was observed. Optimal histologic core procurement rate was 89.7% (range, 84.5%-94.9%) with FNB sampling and 65% (range, 55.5%-74.6%) with FNA (OR, 3.27; 95% CI, 2.03-5.27; P < .0001). Diagnostic accuracy was significantly superior in patients undergoing FNB sampling (OR, 4.10; 95% CI, 2.48-6.79; P < .0001) with the need of a lower number of passes (mean difference, -.75; 95% CI, -1.20 to -.30; P = .001). Sensitivity analysis confirmed these findings in all subgroups tested. Very few adverse events were observed and did not impact on patient outcomes.

Conclusions: Our results speak clearly in favor of FNB sampling, which was found to outperform FNA in all diagnostic outcomes evaluated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results